S Hotels & Resorts (SHR), the hospitality arm of Thai developer Singha Estate, is adopting a different approach to international expansion from other Thai hospitality businesses by launching new brands abroad rather than exporting established homegrown brands to other countries.
As one of the core businesses of Singha Estate – which also counts residential developments, office buildings and retail spaces as part of its multi-investment strategy towards becoming a global holding company – SHR is also on the path to launch an IPO on the Stock Exchange of Thailand in November.
“We’re very much (focused) on the most aspiring leisure destinations; that’s where we are specialising and continuing to drive our business,” shared Dirk De Cuyper, CEO of S Hotels & Resorts, regarding its moves to establish Thai-inspired hospitality in leisure destinations like the Maldives, Fiji & Mauritius.
A notable example of SHR’s overseas ambitions is the recent launch of Crossroads, the largest leisure and entertainment integrated resort in the Maldives.
“We see (Crossroads) as a positive disruption – we’re opening up the Maldives, not just for a once-in-a-lifetime, very exclusive honeymooners, but for families, friends, groups, corporates and single travellers. Those who have never thought of going to the Maldives – that is definitely the market we’re going after,” said De Cuyper.
With a focus on accessible and affordable luxury, the company currently has a global portfolio in five countries with 39 hotels and more than 4,600 keys, which it aims to double to 80 hotels by 2025 through M&As, resort purchases and hotel management agreements.
The latter includes hotel brands created and managed by SHR itself, whose latest addition is a playful new brand SAii, which means “sand” or “pathways” in Thai. SAii Lagoon Maldives, which opened last month as part of the Crossroads mega project, is the brand’s first and flagship property.
While SHR already has five-star luxury resort brand Santiburi in its portfolio, SAii, the new addition, is described as an upper-upscale resort brand targeting “millennials aged 18 to 85” with down-to-earth luxe.
Without confirming the number of new hotels in SAii’s development pipeline, De Cuyper said that SAii branded hotels will open on beachfront destinations in Thailand, Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean through conversion of existing resorts and construction of new properties.
SHR will also launch another business-level brand in early 2020, he added.
“SAii is all about the guest’s journey, customised experiences and Instagrammable moments. There are seven touchpoints – all the way from arrivals to departures – that give you a personalised touch that you will really want to share about,” concluded De Cuyper.